The From A to Z series lets our editors go back and take a look at games from past generations that are classics, overlooked gems, or just titles they remember fondly. The idea behind this is to pick five games from each letter of the alphabet, once a week to showcase. This delivers 26 weeks and 130 games to talk about. Hopefully it sparks some conversation, and of course plenty of memories.
The third in our series focuses on Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis in the US).
Let’s continue with the letter “S”.
This game was kind of like Road Rash, except with inline skates. The player would race other skaters by grabbing onto the back of passing cars and trucks, and fight with weapons for position. The whole skating aesthetic ostensibly made this game an ‘edgy’ title. It was good fun, but a little formulaic.
Sonic & Knuckles
While Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequel arguably defined the Mega Drive’s core identity, Sonic & Knuckles is, in my opinion, the best game in the history of the Sonic franchise. Not only did it feature superb graphics and innovative gameplay, it also had the enjoyable novelty of ‘lock-on technology’. This allowed the player to not only combine gameplay elements of Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic 3 and Sonic 2, but also access endless special stage levels when other game cartridges were ‘locked-on’. At the time, this technology was pretty mind blowing to me.
Sonic the Hedgehog/Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Undoubtedly two of the most iconic Sega games of all time, and almost certainly the two that most personify the Mega Drive. These games reaped massive financial rewards for Sega and launched the company into a legitimate ‘console war’ with Nintendo. These titles are inseparable for me, and probably combined to have the single greatest influence on me as a gamer in my youth. Platform gaming at its finest, with brilliant and exhilarating speed. Still eminently playable today.
Streets of Rage 2
This side-scrolling beat ’em up is frequently in those ‘what are the best games of all-time’ conversations. There have been many pretenders in this genre, but Streets of Rage is its definitive franchise – certainly of the Mega Drive era. It’s a benchmark title in gaming history. What does it have going for it? Superb graphics, brilliant gameplay, amazing soundtrack, co-op. I always played as Axel.
Super Street Fighter 2/Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition
While the Mortal Kombat franchise has always been the personal favourite of mine, Street Fighter 2 is often lauded as the best fighting game of the 16-bit era – albeit there was debate about which version was actually ‘best’. The Super version offered four new characters, whereas the Championship Edition offered a little more polish. The Mega Drive version(s) also benefitted from the console’s 6-button controller.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.